Series (Game 7 of 8)

Series tied 4-4

Game 1: Wednesday, October 10th
Game 2: Thursday, October 25th
Game 3: Saturday, November 10th
Game 4: Monday, November 19th
Game 5: Thursday, December 13th
Game 6: Saturday, January 12th
Game 7: Saturday, March 22nd
Game 8: Saturday, March 29th

Kings 4

(30-40-6, 66 pts)

Stars 2

(42-29-5, 89 pts)

3:00 PM ET, March 22, 2008

American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

1 2 3 T
LA 0 1 34
DAL 1 1 02

M. Handzus (Kings - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

M. Ribeiro (Stars - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

R. Blake (Kings - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Kings score three times in 1:42 to come from behind in third

Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) -- Another third-period meltdown added to the Dallas Stars' misery.

Lubomir Visnovsky scored the go-ahead goal with 2:06 left after Michal Handzus tied it 55 seconds earlier, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied for a 4-2 victory over the fading Stars on Saturday.

A Clutch Catastrophe

In losing 7 seven of their last eight, the Dallas Stars have slipped from 2nd to 5th in the Western Conference and from 1st to 3rd in the Pacific division. The difference has been the third period, where opponents have vastly outscored Dallas.

Dallas Opponents
1st Period 7 goals 5 goals
2nd Period 7 goals 5 goals
3rd Period 1 goal 14 goals

Dallas dropped its fourth in a row, matching its longest losing streak of the season. The Stars have been outscored 11-0 in the third period of their last six games, 8-0 in the final period during the current slide.

Sitting on a late lead hasn't been working for the Stars, who usually are able to protect advantages down the stretch.

"It's a cliche, but it's a 60-minute game," Dallas center Steve Ott said. "Fifty-five minutes isn't good enough, especially against a young, hungry team. For some reason we're not finishing out games."

Dallas had won 13 of 15 before this slump knocked the Stars out of the Pacific Division lead. San Jose and Anaheim have both passed them by.

"We play OK for half the game and the other half, we're looking around, not competing," forward Mike Ribeiro said. "That's unacceptable. It's time for us to react and play as a team."

Handzus added another goal with 1:19 left to give the Kings a two-goal cushion.

Stu Barnes' second-period goal put Dallas ahead 2-1, and the Stars seemed on the verge of snapping their skid. But Handzus stole the puck from defenseman Trevor Daley and scored from the slot at 16:59 to tie it at 2.

Visnovsky then put the Kings in front at 17:54 when his shot from the left point eluded goalie Marty Turco, who was screened.

Handzus scored off a rebound at 18:41 for his seventh goal of the season.

Brenden Morrow added a power-play goal for Dallas.

The Stars had victories in seven straight home games against the Kings and were 11-1-2 overall against them over the past two seasons before Los Angeles halted those streaks.

Rob Blake had a power-play goal for the Kings, who have the fewest points in the NHL.

"Our fate has kind of been written," Blake said. "We're out of the playoffs. We want a little respect and I think we got that today."

The Kings must be content with the spoiler's role while pointing toward next season.

"We look at these games as our playoffs because the games are so meaningful [for opponents]," Kings coach Marc Crawford said. "Dallas wants home ice in the playoffs and we're using the games to help our young players develop."

Dallas opened the scoring when Morrow deflected Matt Niskanen's shot from the point past rookie goalie Erik Ersberg at 13:08 of the opening period. Morrow's 29th goal came with Jeff Giuliano of the Kings off for hooking.

Blake's ninth goal came on a power-play rebound at 5:48 of the second period and tied it at 1.

Barnes gave Dallas a 2-1 advantage at 11:32 of the second period with his 10th goal on a wrist shot from the inside edge of the right circle.

Game notes

Ott was back in the lineup after completing a three-game suspension for a hit to the head of Colorado's Jordan Leopold. ... Out for the Kings: LW Kyle Calder [broken finger], LW Ladislav Nagy [neck], G Jason LaBarbera [groin] and D Jack Johnson [foot]. ... Ersberg played in his ninth NHL game. ... The Stars played the second in a stretch of eight straight games against division opponents to close out the regular season. They open a four-game road trip Thursday night at San Jose.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press